Handy Handbook for Teaching Newbies

The world of ESL teaching can often be a confusing place, there is always a lot to remember. But, here at Matt-Erials we hope to make this a little better for you, if not easier to begin with.

To begin with, let's take a look at the myriad of acronyms and initialisms you will be bombarded with each and every day of your exciting new career.


DoS - Director of studies (your big scary boss person).
ADoS - Assistant director of studies (not as scary but still your boss).
T - Teacher (or you).
SS - Students (those small people you find yourself spending too much time with)
IWB - Interactive whiteboard (that big, white screen that never quite does what it should).
PPT - PowerPoint (those things you spend far too much time on or steal from someone else (always go for the second option)).
TL - Target Language (very rarely does this include bull's-eye).
PPP - Present, Produce, Practice (not what a student says when they desperately need the loo).
FC - Flashcard or flash cards (not to be confused with a man in a long raincoat).
Realia - Real stuff, instead of just pictures.

Correction codes
P - Punctuation (you, can, never, have, too, many, commas).
WO - Word order (or order word...)
WW - Wrong word (or wrong lemon...)
G - Grammar (not married to grampa).
WM/^ - Word missing (there is a missing?)
SP - Spelling (overrated). 

There are obviously other ones that may only be used in your school.

Now onto those pesky lesson aims you should always have the beginning of every lesson plan.

The simplest way to write these is;


By the end of the lesson the students will be able to "do something" in a "context" "using the target language".

So in reality it might look something like this;


By the end of the lesson the students will be able to "write an invitation" "for a party" using the target language "party, birthday, RSVP etc".

I always find a good "mantra" for teaching is that the students (or the SS if you will) should engage, understand and learn. It's always good to bare in mind whilst planning, it should then be quite obvious when it comes to teaching.

Well, that just about covers acronyms, initialisms and lesson plans. Now on to something every teacher should have, a teachers toolbox!
I find this very handy and never enter a classroom without it just to cover for all eventualities. 

In mine is always;

Dice - these come in very handy for class/board games and suchlike and if you, like me live and work in China, can always be stolen or borrowed from bars and clubs.
A large dice - great for full class activities and best made from a large, even sided box.
Pretend money - again, good for board games and class games and/or as a reward for behaviour. I have printed out monopoly money, which I shall include on this here blog shortly but your home country's currency can also well (copies of obviously).
Pens - Black, red and blue pens are always useful for marking students work.
Pencils - there will always be one student who utters the inevitable "teacher, no pen!)"
Pencil sharpener and eraser/rubber - these tend to come in handy whenever pencils are floating around.
Scissors - you never know when you will need to cut a student's finger off...I mean work...honest!
Sticky tape or Blu-Tack - useful for information exchanges or any other information you might want to adhere to the walls of your classroom.
Coins - coins from your homeland come in handy and are a great way to engage students by mixing up and old activity.
Mini English dictionary - especially useful for teens and adults as they are bound to ask a question to which your answer will be "umm...I...umm...dunno".
Ping-pong balls - can come in handy if you find yourself with an unexpected 10 minutes to use for a review or want to have your SS throw something that won't hurt anyone.


There you have it! I hope I have provided a very handy, little handbook the new teachers and hope it can be of some use to someone!

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